Facebook’s current bulletins that they’re beefing up Messenger and including a bevy of recent instruments for companies to make use of Messenger to work together with prospects is simply the latest salvo in Facebook’s long-standing battle to change into really indispensable in any respect phases of the shopper relationship cycle.
If can moderately be said that Facebook is already “winning” its battle to change into indispensable on the high and center of the funnel, as they’re now in the identical paragraph as Google as a buyer acquisition behemoth. Digital promoting expenditures surpassed offline spend for the primary time not too long ago, and Google and Facebook are by far the biggest gamers (though Amazon is making up floor).
But, as each Facebook person is aware of, the corporate is working out of actual property to put adverts in News Feed, Instagram, and even Instagram Stories. Hence, their introduction of recent ad-customization instruments in Messenger and WhatsApp.
More necessary, nevertheless, is Mark Zuckerberg’s declaration that:
The future is non-public.
A callous individual may recommend that this swing towards privateness, teams, and encrypted messaging is an overdue response to a collection of more and more eye-opening kerfuffles about Facebook promoting our knowledge in methods which might be inappropriate at greatest, and possibly illegal.
And sure, that’s a cynical viewpoint, that the corporate that dominates world communications in methods previously regarded as unthinkable would merely shift focus resulting from regulatory and buyer scrutiny. But, it’s not truly cynical sufficient.
You see, that is all a part of the PLAN at Facebook, and has been all alongside.
As I wrote about in The Facebook Messaging Push Is Not About Privacy — It’s About Control not too long ago:
“Taking over the role of SMS and email has been Facebook’s true master plan since the WhatsApp acquisition in 2014, and now that the news feed is waning, they are executing on that strategy, and wrapping it in a convenient veil of “we now love privacy.” Bullshit. They love income and the flexibility to make use of messaging to be taught much more about customers, thus giving them the flexibility to promote extra focused (learn: dearer) adverts.”
And why do corporations use messaging (whether or not e-mail, SMS, or messaging apps)? Primarily to speak with CURRENT prospects, extra so than potential ones. You see, what Facebook is doing — and has at all times envisioned — is turning into the wiring for a way corporations work together with shoppers as soon as they change into prospects. Because once you play that position it’s FAR more durable to be displaced.
You can transfer advert round from Facebook to Twitter to Google to show to no matter. You can check campaigns. You can experiment. But you’re not going to A/B check your order affirmation system. You’re not going to take a flier on the way you set appointments for your online business. Once that’s in place, you’ll do no matter it takes to not mess with it. The switching prices are too excessive.
TechCrunch describes Facebook’s new messaging and appointments options like this:
“After a tough begin to its chatbot program a couple of years in the past, the place bots couldn’t work out customers’ open-ended responses, (Facebook’s) Chudnovsky says the platform is now selecting up steam with 300,000 builders on board. One choice that’s labored particularly nicely is lead-generation templates, which train bots to ask individuals standardized questions to gather contact information or enterprise intent, so Messenger is including extra of these templates with completion reminders and seamless hand-off to a stay agent.
To let customers work together with appointment-based companies by means of a platform they’re already acquainted with, Messenger launched a beta program for barbers, dentists and extra that may quickly open to let any enterprise deal with appointment reserving by means of the app. And with new authenticated m.me hyperlinks, a enterprise can take a logged-in person on their web site and go them to Messenger whereas nonetheless figuring out their order historical past and different information. Getting extra companies hooked on Messenger customer support may very well be very profitable down the road.”
You assume? Very profitable, certainly.
Want to Know Where Facebook is Headed? Watch WeChat
The one firm Facebook can’t contact (but) in time period of utility up and down the shopper journey is WeChat. In Asia, WeChat is EVERYTHING. It is interwoven into society way over Facebook is within the United States, or wherever. This is partially as a result of WeChat has at all times ridden on high of a messaging platform essentially, and as Facebook’s Head of Messaging Stan Chudnovsky stated this week:
We consider you’ll be able to construct virtually any utility on high of messaging.
And construct it, they may.
As of January 2019, WeChat claims over one billion DAILY customers. It’s so extremely fashionable as a result of it by some means weaves collectively information, leisure, messaging, commerce, and video games into one mobile-only platform that’s not unattainable to navigate.
Embrace With One Eye Open
I’m not towards Facebook Messenger. Or WhatsApp. Or even the brand new model they’re cooking up that may mix these two with Instagram messaging. In reality, I’d argue that these apps are among the many least objectionable components of your entire Facebook ecosystem, as they provide shoppers the very best relevancy, most management, and biggest quantity of privateness — in concept.
But it’s necessary that earlier than all of us embrace Facebook’s pivot from public News Feed to personal teams and messaging, and their relocation of strategic focus from promoting to interactions, and their emphasis shift from buying your new prospects to interacting along with your present ones, that all of us perceive what’s actually occurring right here:
They are spidering your group. They are making themselves helpful in additional contexts, and all through the shopper lifecycle. And like gum in your shoe, when you step on it, it’s going to be even more durable to scrape off.